September 24, 2019 5:19:33 pm
The government will keep national interest in mind while deciding whether Chinese gear maker Huawei should be allowed to participate in 5G trials, a top telecom department official said on Tuesday.
The department also hopes to conduct spectrum auction by December-end or January for which Digital Communications Commission (DCC) will take a call on the base price of airwaves, followed by a Cabinet approval.
The DCC is the apex decision-making body at the Department of Telecom (DoT).
“The DCC will be meeting next month sometime and we have already held one meeting this month,” Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash told reporters but declined to comment on whether a decision on spectrum prices can be expected in the upcoming meeting.
He added: “If we have to hold the auction by December-end or January we will have to take a call before that. Now when will it happen, the next meeting or meeting after that, we will have to see.”
The telecom secretary was speaking on the sidelines of Invest Digicom 2019 event.
To a question on Huawei, Prakash said the government has made its stand very clear that whatever is in the best national interest, will be done. He did not mention a timeline for a decision in this regard.
Earlier this month, Huawei had said it is hopeful that the Indian government will treat all foreign investments “fairly” and had urged the world’s largest democracy to make an “independent decision” on permitting 5G trials in the country.
Speaking at the CII India China Economic Cooperation Forum, Huawei India CEO Jay Chen had also sought to assure the Indian government that the company is fully compliant with regulations in India and of addressing concerns around cybersecurity.
The US had barred American companies from working with Huawei but has given temporary reprieve till November. The country has banned the Chinese company over concerns of security and has been pressuring other nations to follow suit.
India, however, is yet to take a decision on whether it intends to place curbs on Huawei or allow the Chinese telecom equipment maker to participate in the 5G trials.
Meanwhile, the telecom secretary said the government is aware of the problems being faced by state-owned BSNL and MTNL and the DoT is actively considering relief measures for the two ailing telecom corporations.
“DoT is working on a package,” Prakash assured, when asked if the government will throw a lifeline to these firms which have of late delayed salary payments due to financial turmoil.
Asked when the measures will be finalised in this regard, Prakash said it will be done soon.
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